"Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go...
or waiting around for a Yes or No...
Everyone is just waiting."
Dr. Seuss, from "Oh the Places You'll Go!"
My wife called out “There is something going on out there,” as she entered the house coming from her Pilates class, a route that took her down Cheshire Bridge onto Piedmont Road. “I think Tattletales is on fire.”
Well that was enough for me to turn on the television. Sure enough it was a local TV news bonanza. Bizarrely it was even more sensational that if Helen had been right about what was on fire. Turns out it was not the entertainment establishment, but a critical section of one of the most traveled interstate section in the South: I-85. Blazing fire! Traffic! Danger! Whodunit?
We, of course, were transfixed.
Our house is exactly 0.6 miles from where a homeless man caught fire to a chair irresponsible state officials stored flammable materials causing the collapse of our already strained traffic grid. You know the rest of the story and we have all been living with the consequences for weeks now. Some of us more than others.
Every morning and late afternoon helicopters hover just near our formerly serene cul-de-sac so that broadcasters can provide Atlanta with important daily live shots of people sitting in their cars. And workers in yellow vests and hard hats thoughtfully looking into large holes.
I’ll admit I have, on occasion, acted superior to my OTP friends who opted for large homes with low taxes and good school systems in the suburbs while I stayed intown where restaurant options don’t include P.F. Chang’s.
But on the traffic gridlock misery index, we are now pegging the scale at an 11 plus. The only place I can get to without traveling in bumper-to-bumper traffic is the end of my street. If I put in a destination on Waze, instead of directions the app gives me a list of popular Netflix shows I might want to stay at home to watch. The OTPers have won, for now.
In response we have tried to patronize local establishments. Roxx Tavern on Cheshire Bridge is one of our go-to restaurants for a good, casual weeknight meal. We ran into owner Dean Chronopoulos at church earlier in the week who waved me off when I asked how business was and said, “Don’t ask. Just come by.” Our server said she’d made barely a third of what she normally makes since the collapse turned Cheshire Bridge into a parking lot. But she was upbeat anyway and said she’d had good conversations with patrons and got to know some people better. What a great attitude.
It made me think about my own attitude to “waiting.” We’ve all likely done a lot of waiting in traffic. This whole mess has given me a new outlook on waiting. It is actually a gift. It is slowing down our frantic to-and-fro and creating different options. Can you smell the roses yet?
What are we “waiting” for anyway? Frustration at waiting implies that we want some future state rather than the present. And sure looking at taillights isn’t what we bargained for, but what does it say about our states of mind? Instead of being content on where we are right now, both from a geographic standpoint, and where we are in our lives, we want to be in some projected future.
The present is all we have and it is pretty fabulous. Every moment of it.
I have a variety of interests and enjoy sharing my reflections on them here.